MARCH FOR MENTAL HEALTH SCHEDULE
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Young people in Tonga are dealing with the reality of the climate emergency as well as the uncertainty associated with the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak; all of which has been shown to lead to rising levels of anxiety and depression. The government must integrate and implement mental health services across all levels of society, including in climate change policies, youth policies, and emergency response.
With a high rate of suicide amongst young people in New Zealand, greater resources and support for mental health services are needed across the country. The government must be open and transparent in the spending of its vast Wellbeing budget, ensuring full accountability.
There is a budgetary gap in Australia between the amount of the health budget spent on mental health (5%) and the burden of disease it represents (12%-15%), leading to poor mental health outcomes. The governments across Australia must collectively commit to bridging the gap between funding and community needs.
There is a need for a coordinated approach to suicide prevention in Indonesia, especially given the lack of public awareness towards mental health issues in general. The government must work with CSO partners to develop a national suicide prevention strategy which is mainstreamed across sectors.
COVID-19 is aggravating existing problems in the Philippines, such as lack of access to mental health services and stigma. The government must invest in mental health through the local adoption and implementation of the Mental Health Act and capacity building of mental health professionals and champions.
As suicide is the leading cause of death amongst Nepalese women aged 15-49, the lack of a national suicide prevention strategy and plan is detrimental. The government must work to integrate and mainstream mental health across all health and societal sectors as well as partner with CSOs and mental health service user organisations to develop a national suicide prevention strategy.
Lack of investment in India has caused a mental health crisis, with less than 10% youth having access to any mental healthcare. The government must implement the Mental Health Care Act 2017 to make services accessible for all and formulate a national policy for preventing suicide.
Sri Lanka has high numbers of suicide, child abuse and family conflicts and needs the health, non-health and corporate sectors to take collaborative action. The government must invest in mental health promotion through all sectors.
Stigma has made investment and access to services in Pakistan difficult, especially for underprivileged populations, and the mental health budget is only 0.4% of the health budget. The government must form a commission featuring mental health professionals and individuals with lived experience, to work on a national action plan for mental health.
THEME: Suicide Prevention and Mental Health
Suicide remains illegal in at least 22 countries worldwide, which deters those in need from seeking help, punishes those who have attempt suicide, and penalises families who have lost loved ones to suicide. Governments are called upon to decriminalise suicidal behaviour so that it can be recognised and treated as a public health issue, bolstering suicide prevention efforts.
South Africa needs properly resourced mental health services, greater awareness and education and proactive action towards the implementation of the Mental Health Policy and Strategic Action Plan. The government must ensure that mental health services are accessible to poor and marginalised communities by investing in community-based mental health services.
What does it take to be truly heard? In an unprecedented move, Warner Music Group and its musicians from around the world will simply narrate their most heartfelt lyrics as they advocate the need to speak your mind.
THEME: Humanitarian crises and mental health
People living in humanitarian emergency and conflict settings experience higher rates of mental ill health than the average population, and the COVID-19 pandemic has added further pressures. We are calling for political will and investment, so that emergencies can be catalysts for building quality mental health services.
Nigeria is on the verge of a mental health pandemic, due to the breakdown of society and current socio-economic conditions. The government must review the mental health bill and take on recommendations of NGOs and CSOs and increase funding for mental health at both Federal and State levels.
THEME: Dementia and mental health
Dementia shares significant overlaps with the experience of mental health conditions, most notably due to stigma, lack of access to services, and depression which is common for those receiving a diagnosis. We are calling for an increase in the awareness, detection and diagnosis of dementia, and the mental health impacts, as well as improved support services for carers.
Last year, the government of Sierra Leone promised to review the Mental Health Act of 1902, improve community-based services and increase capacity building of service providers. The government must follow through on its commitment to review this legislation.
THEME: Inclusion and mental health
Chaining, incarceration and coercive treatment is all too common around the world for those with mental health conditions, which is contrary to human rights, causes suffering, and is bad for mental health. We are calling for the banning of shackling and the provision of mental health services that are dignified, effective and accessible.
The effects from the Ebola outbreak and the current COVID-19 pandemic have put a strain on the few mental health services that exist in a country that already has high levels of stigma surrounding mental health. The government must look to increase the national mental health funding and in doing so, develop national anti-stigma and mental health literacy programmes.
A lack of prioritisation of mental health in Ghana has led to a vicious cycle of under funding services and support. The government must increase the budget for mental health care, fully implement the mental health law and ensure mental health services are integrated into mainstream health care system.
THEME: Youth and mental health
Around 1 in 5 of the world’s children and adolescents have a mental health illness, with half of all mental illnesses beginning by the age of 14, and three-quarters by their mid-20s. Young people face stigma, isolation and discrimination, as well as a lack of access to health care and education so we are calling for greater global and national investment in child and youth mental health.
Argentina needs to increase the provision of, and access to, quality community-based mental health services, that fully respect the mental health law and the human rights of people living with psychosocial disabilities. The government must invest to ensure such services are available to those who need them, especially in communities.
In Peru there is a need to shift to a social and human rights approach to mental health support and services. The government needs to guarantee respect for human rights and include people with lived experienced of mental health in planning and delivery of services and care (those who are “experts by experience”)
Deaths of despair – deaths to drugs, alcohol, and suicide – are at an all-time high in the United States. It’s time for our country to take a comprehensive approach to solving problems that have existed for decades through leadership, investment, addressing social and economic factors that exacerbate disparities, and creating an integrated delivery and financing system for mental health and substance use care that is designed by, for, and with our communities.
THEME: LGBTIQ+ and mental health
LGBTIQ+ people experience higher rates of depression, anxiety, suicide compared to the general population. We are calling on the banning of conversion practices, which are prevalent globally, as they amplify these mental health challenges.